This is six months old but very much back in the news after the Obama State of the Union
Legendary investor Warren Buffett penned a New York Times opinion piece about tax rates. Surprisingly, he presents some very misleading information. Fortunately, anyone can easily obtain actual average tax data from the helpful IRS website. Yes, I said “helpful IRS”.
Mr. Buffett says he calculated his personal average tax rate, including Social Security and Medicare payroll taxes, and came up with 17.7%. Other people in his office paid more, anywhere “from 33 percent to 41 percent and averaged 36 percent”.  I assume his co-workers’ calculations are accurate. But Buffett is an aberration among the rich and his staff is not middle class, as we know from comparing them to the IRS’s own tax tables.
The chart below shows the actual average federal income tax paid by 2008 income cohort. The top 1% paid an average 21.0% of income, the top 50 percent paid an average 13.2% and the bottom 50% paid a mere 2.6%.
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